For the present I see myself alone in the back drawing-room of No. 16, Keppel Street, in which room the family breakfast took place — probably to avoid the necessity of lighting another fire in the dining-room below — at 7 a.m., on my knees before the sofa, with my head in my hands and my eyes fixed on the Eton Latin Grammar laid on the sofa cushion before me.1 My parents had not yet come down to breakfast, nor had the tea urn been brought up by the footman. Nota bene — My father was a poor man, and his establishment altogether on a modest footing. But it never would have occurred to him or to my mother that they could get on without a man-servant in livery. And though this liveried footman served a family in which two tallow candles with their snuffer dish supplied the whole illumination of the evening, had the livery been an invented one instead of that proper to the family, the circumstance would have been an absurdity exciting the ridicule of all the society in which my parents lived. Tempora mutantur! Certainly at the present day an equally unpretending household would be burthened by no footman. But on the morning which memory is recalling to me the footman was coming up with the urn, and my parents were coming down to breakfast, probably simultaneously; and the question of the hour was whether I could get the due relationship of relative and antecedent into my little head before the two events arrived.
KeywordsGood House Family Circle Fellow Creature Latin Verse Literary Reputation
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